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For West Michigan residents in the Grand Rapids area, the Gun Lake Casino has been the go-to spot for all kinds of gambling.

Of course, there are the table games and slots, and there is the Stage 131 Sports Book and Lounge, where you can wager on games from all over the world. And by the way, if you took my advice and wagered on the Tampa Bay Rays to win the American League Pennant way back in July or early August at +900 odds, then you are welcome, and I will be waiting by my mailbox for my commission.

Just kidding, but you are welcome.

With the news that online sports betting will be coming to the Wolverine State most likely in the first few weeks of January, after it was pushed back from late 2020, people are gearing up to wager on their mobile devices, as well as play table games and slots. Mobile betting has taken over in other states, with New Jersey in particular seeing almost 94 percent of its record $931 million sports betting intake in November come from online devices.

But casinos, once this pandemic is sorted, still offer things that the online betting experience does not.

There are shows, restaurants, and all kinds of things to do outside of your house, which is something that will appeal to many people once this thing gets back to “normal”. In the New Jersey casinos, there are a couple holiday shows going on now, one of which is a salute to Motown. But there are not too many, yet; that looks like it is going to change, though, if you look at the Atlantic City schedules. January has a few more shows, as does February, before every weekend in March and April has shows all over the various casinos.

Could that be the case soon in Michigan as well?

At Gun Lake, the restaurants and clubs are still closed, and entertainment is still on hiatus, based on the reports from the Michigan casino gambling guide. But there is light at the end of this long, brutal tunnel of 2020. With other states starting to loosen the restrictions, and the vaccine rollout on the way, it could be a matter of months before the entertainment parts of the casinos start to open.

With that, the people should start to flow back in, for a night away from home, or maybe just to see a show. After so long of things being closed, it will be very interesting to see what happens when things start to reopen at more than 25 percent capacity, or with only 100 people allowed into venues.

I know one thing for sure: when I can get out to take a trip, I am going. I miss the roar of a crowd at a game, or of a night out with dinner and something afterwards to do, without having to get my food in a to-go container.

The casinos will be betting that you will want that, too.

If you or anyone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER.

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